Roberto Baeza, Beleaguered Anaheim Principal, Gets Demoted by Superintendent

Categories: School Daze

roberto_baeza.jpg
Principal Roberto Baeza in the classroom
The Anaheim City School District (ACSD) took action against Palm Lane Principal Roberto Baeza during a Monday meeting of the school board. In a 4-1 closed session vote, board members released him of his principal duties and will reassign the educator at the start of the next school year. It's not a first for Baeza as mostly Latino parents rallied against the board and superintendent Linda Wagner this time last year against a principal rotation taking him out of Benito Juarez Elementary.

News of Baeza's fate remained unknown until the ACSD put out a press release yesterday about the vote. Not even the educator himself knew it pertained to him. "I wasn't exactly sure what the vote was about," says Dr. Roberto Baeza. But he would soon find out in a followup meeting yesterday morning with the supe. "It was short, brief and to the point," he says. The former principal expected word on an investigation that put him on leave for three months. "What I got instead was my notice of demotion."

Baeza's whereabouts came up during public comment anyway as community members had their suspicions. "Why would you take a good thing away from the children?" asked Julie Brunette. She has a grandchild at Palm Lane and vowed to take action. "Bring him back. If I don't see him back next week, I'll picket." Brunette promised that others would too.

"We have a right to know why he's not at Palm Lane," added Jeanette Saldivar, a vocal parent in the effort to keep Baeza at Juarez last year. Saldivar blasted ACSD Board President (and OC Weekly Scariest People 2012 inductee) Jose F. Moreno for being a Latino elected official that failed to support them.

A beleaguered Baeza kept a low-profile during last year's protests. Up until then, he enjoyed an otherwise tranquil career that saw him climb the ranks from teacher to vice principal to principal. Out of the lost fight, Baeza started the new school year at Palm Lane Elementary, a school whose Academic Performance Index (API) scores didn't meet growth targets and consistently fell below state standards. Wagner told Juarez parents last spring that he was a great principal--an assessment that, on surface, is at odds with what Moreno told this reporter in person last July when he described Baeza as "not a good principal." Instead of things settling down, the supe put the Anaheim educator in her crosshairs long before this week's vote.

On February 17, administrators placed Baeza on leave pending an investigation. According to sources at Palm Lane, the superintendent explained the situation the very next day.

"Linda Wagner came to the campus to tell staff Principal Baeza was on administrative leave," one source told the Weekly. "She said there were complaints and concerns that needed to be addressed and investigated." Wagner clarified that he wasn't being investigated for anything illegal. It was only her second visit to Palm Lane at the time.

"As with any investigation, we want to ensure that we conduct it with the most minimal impact to the learning environment and disruption to students," ACSD Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Luis Caramena said back in March. "We are currently in the process of speaking with teachers and employees to make sure that the school is the best learning and work environment possible."

But our school sources say Palm Lane wasn't all that inviting to Baeza from the start. "He never got a fair shake at all," another says. "He was put into a hostile environment by Wagner, and she knew it. It has only escalated. It's really been blown out of proportion now." Staff reportedly remained divided as the investigation dragged on and on.

"Ensuring a constructive learning and work climate is our top priority," Wagner said in a press statement. "After thoughtful consideration, the school board decided to release Dr. Baeza from his position as principal at Palm Lane Elementary School and reassign him to another certificated position for the 2014-2015 school year."

The suave speak from the savvy supe falls short on reality. "I've been told I'm going down to a teacher position," says Baeza. "It's not connected to my job performance nor the three-month long investigation. I've been demoted."

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @dpalabraz

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33 comments
Mom4kids
Mom4kids

Hi Gabriel

Remember me..I was a parent that spoke at the board meeting in June..maybe you thought I was a latina with an anglo name thru marriage but I am white..and you quoted me.I have dark hair but I am white not hispanic.. but enough about race..I only mention it because of the parents being referred to as hispanics. I am highly educated..I represent people and defend them against the abuses of government on a daily basis..but not in the school district arena...I defend people with tax issues against the IRS and state..I suspected back then in June that the school board and supe were not done with Baeza..that is why I consulted an law firm that has experience with school districts and the workings of school boards..before I spoke.. I found out that the board was only allowing the parents to speak to give lip service to our concerns, to allow us to exercise our rights to speak, but that the decision was made and it would be highly unlikely that it would be changed .. we gave it our best shot..what I noticed was that the board did not like the large amount of parents that supported Baeza and I suspected the board and supe would abuse their power and railroad Baeza..so no surprise to me that he is suspended and he is demoted for no cause... I was asked by some parents to speak again on Dr. Baeza's behalf at the upcoming board meeting..I have a prior commitment but will try to come, but I said Dr. Baeza doesn't need me..he needs an attorney and needs to sue the school district and fight this legally..so please read this Dr. Baeza you have legal rights and the school district cannot legally treat you this way..get a good lawyer experienced in school districts..you are not the first principal to get railroaded and I am sure you won't be the last ..we are here the parents who know the truth..that you are a great principal that cares about our kids and motivates our kids to learn, grow and become their best..


All you parents..put it in writing..write statements regarding Dr. Baeza, about your experiences with him as a principal,..his character..his compassion for the kids..the outstanding results that he achieved at Juarez....how he helped your child..Let's stand up for him..and support him. Write your letters in any language you are comfortable with..and all us parents at Juarez know that we are parents first and foremost...we don't look at our races..we love our children..we are not interested in the color of our skin..so we come from different races but we are united as parents and we won't tolerate the school district mistreating a dedicated, outstanding employee that worked his way thru the ranks..to become a wonderful principal..We are not angry..we are organized....let's take it out of the school district and into a court room..and look at the hard facts and evidence..get your lawyer Dr. Baeza..if you haven't already..and let them file suit..


Start writing those statements. We will organize them and file them with the court..


Pay attention school board..I don't care if you are white, hispanic or some other race..what you are doing to Dr. Baeza is wrong, it has everything to do with politics plain and simple..you have made it clear that you don't care about what is best for our children....your decisions are evidence of that. 


Parent's let's vote these people out.the ones we can...in November..let's exercise our rights ..  and I patiently wait for this to go to court..or if the district is smart they will settle out of court...Do not forget ..this country was founded by people who fought the abuses of government ..Let's keep our government in check..

Frustrated
Frustrated

I see now that the new principal was doing a good job. He made sure our kids were safe and was helping them to succeed. I don't want it to go back to the way it was.  But it is.  Is it too late?  The superintendent has created this problem and it is getting worse.  She doesn't care about our kids.  We need help! Nobody wants to listen to us.

LaPurhepecha
LaPurhepecha

SHAME ON YOU!  

Savvy Superintendent Linda Wagner and OC Weekly Scariest People 2012 Inductee,  

Jose F. Moreno

So much of the acts of kindness Superintendent Linda Wagner promotes in meetings.  Its more like acts of evilness what you are showing all of us.

oh by the way, the community doesn't like you Moreno..  They are tiered of all your BS.  


jerryv_74
jerryv_74

It saddens me to hear this news. As a parent of a former Juarez student I can say that Dr. Baeza is a great Principal that does not deserve to be treated this way. Dr. Baeza was an outstanding teacher that worked his way to becoming an even better principal. The Board has hurt our children and teachers by denying them his experience, skill and passion for education. Shame on you!!

Dr. Baeza, thank you for being a positive role model, teacher, and mentor for my daughter and my little brother. You are greatness!!

jerryv_74
jerryv_74

As the parent of a former Juarez Elementary student, it saddens me to hear this news. Dr. Baeza is a great Principal who did an outstanding job at Juarez. I don't know what the problems were at Palm Lane but I can say that the decisions that Dr. Baeza made at Juarez always placed the students first. Dr. Baeza is not only a great administrator but also a great leader. He rallied the parents and always encouraged us to be involved at the school. Dr. Baeza deserves to be in a leadership position in this district because it is in the best interest of our children.

lindquist.jessica
lindquist.jessica

I am so affected by this news.I am a teacher and worked with Dr Baeza for several years.He was an amazing administrator! He was also an extremely influential mentor to me.Dr. Baeza was a supporter, listener, guide, and constructive critic.Dr. Baeza treated my students, our faculty, and our community with kindness, respect, and professionalism.He embraced his position as a principal with innovation, high expectations, and compassion.Under the administration of Dr. Baeza, I developed in confidence and knowledge as a teacher. Dr. Baeza exemplified the principle of “putting children first.”

Concernedteacher
Concernedteacher

Thank you Gabriel San Roman for your editorial. The truth needs to come out about the corruption and lies that ACSD's superintendent and select board members are spewing! Baeza has proven himself as an administrator both as a vice principal and principal. He has always been professional, helpful, and inspiring to the staff, children AND parents he worked for in Anaheim. The superintendent is destroying a man's career because of her own petty reasons! Parents rallied for him at Juarez and she paid no attention...he was moved to Palm Lane and wanted to make change that was desperately needed. Unfortunately, a few old disgruntled teachers who had run the school up to that point decided they would be the sups minions and destroy Baeza with outrageous lies! It is a sad day in Anaheim as we lose an outstanding administrator who cared about kids not politics.

NotShuttingUp
NotShuttingUp

Dr. Baeza is an awesome principal!  Wagner and Moreno are punishing him because we wanted a say in the education of our children.  The lesson here is that they don't want or value parent input. If you don't want to sit down and shut up, then you need to speak up now!  Wagner and Moreno need to go!

TimeForChange
TimeForChange

As a parent, I was relieved a strong principal was coming in protect our kids and improve our school.It just shows how weak and politically motivated our superintendent and school board members really are.They say “ensuring a constructive learning and work climate is our top priority” yet as soon as we have a principal that is doing just that, they use it against him and put him on leave for months. In the news today is a video of a teacher physically attacking a student and she is disciplined with a 10 day suspension.That teacher should be fired! Yet when principals try to do the right thing, we punish them.Dr. Baeza isn’t being demoted for no reason, he was doing what should have been done a long time ago and was the only one with enough knowledge and courage to get it done. Bring him back and let him finish the job ONLY he is willing to do!


http://www.myfoxla.com/story/25517040/caught-on-camera


LaPurhepecha
LaPurhepecha

It is despicable what the SAVVY SUPERINTENDENT has done to a great role model for our community. He gave his all for the success of our students. He put students first, believes in them, sets high expectations, and teaches them to go after and reach their goals. Dr. Baeza El Pueblo esta con tigo.

TeacherForBaeza
TeacherForBaeza

As a teacher, I worked with Dr. Baeza for many years. I was never challenged, encouraged, supported, or grew as much as under his direct leadership.The results of which were tremendous student success! Inspiring students and staff, he is dedicated and focused with a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience. A small group of students will be extremely lucky to get him as their teacher next year.Unfortunately, this is a huge lose for hundreds of students and teachers who would have surely benefited from his leadership. He is determined to doing what is best for students! I wish I could say the same for our current leadership.

DeeRN92869
DeeRN92869

I'm a resident from the city of Orange and I have only heard great things about Dr. Baeza..  Don't Know him personally but I know from friends that he did an amazing job at Juarez..  It crossed my mind to transfer my children to Juarez  because of all the great things people say of him.    

Dr. Baeza you have done an amazing job from everything that I have read..   Apply at OUSD we would love to have you as part of our community..   We need principals like you..  

lbravo52
lbravo52

This is unbelievable. I transferred my three kids to Juarez because friends who had their kids at Juarez told me what a great principal this man was. I was 100% pleased with the school, teachers, but most off all Dr. Baeza. How is this possible? I do know a good principal when I see one. We came from a school where we weren't happy (different district) and felt this school had a family feel. We were disappointed when Dr. Baeza was transferred, but we looked at it as him giving his skills to a new school. A school that seem to need it. This is wrong.... I do not understand how the superintendent gets away with it.

BBAIN
BBAIN

Well you certainly leave a lot open to interpretation - Gabe, seeing that you do not state the reason for the demotion... ??  Either way - if this Baeza guy is a doctor, why doesn't he just get a job, you know - as a doctor?  MD's certainly make more money than educators.

Walsh
Walsh

The superintendent made the right decision.  my neice goes to Palm Lane. I never had a good feeling from this guy.

giveitupalready
giveitupalready

@Mom4kids  Suing the district is not the answer.  What good will that do, besides feed his ego?  All that will be is a waste of time and money the district will have to spend on him, not on our kids. It will definitely not help students.

giveitupalready
giveitupalready

@Mom4kids  You don't know all the facts behind this decision, just like a lot of other parents. All you people just speculate on what you think is the truth.  He is not as great as people make him sound, he might be good for some people, and might have done good things, but he is not the best out there. Baeza has a group of followers that support him, so you are all bitter about it, because you don't agree with the decisions made. My kids are doing great at Juarez but not because of him, that's for sure.  He had nothing to do with them doing well.

Paloma88
Paloma88

@Frustrated  It might soon be too late because they are hiring for a new principal in a few days.  That evil woman or wagner as they call her seems to do this anytime that she wants to shut the parents down.  She only cares about doing what she wants.  So we all better stop thinking she is going to listen.  Get rid of Wagner by contacting the school board.  Remind those board members that they are up for re-election and if they don't do what we say as parents or as community members you will throw their asses out.  

giveitupalready
giveitupalready

@AProudBaezista  Do not speak for all of "the community"  some of us don't want to be associated with the likes of all you so called "Baezistas".

giveitupalready
giveitupalready

@Concernedteacher  Again, a supporter spreading some lies, not all parents rallied. Just a few, loyal FOLLOWERS.  How would you know the teachers spread outrageous lies?  Were you there, or just what you heard through the grapevine?

B.M.
B.M.

@NotShuttingUp  They do need to go.  Are there any of them up for running the elections cuz I see all those posters telling you to vote?  Can we get rid of them?  How do we vote out Wagner.  I am a stepdad at Palm Lane and our son goes to school there.  Dr. Baeza seemed friendly and he offered his help.  The kids were all excited because he brought back packs back.  And us parents loved that he brought homework back.  We never got why the other principle has such dumb rules.  You can also tel that when he walk into a room or place with kids they would get all happy.  We saw the school real different when he got there like the first day. Some parents were mad cuz they had to walk more but he always said safety first at the cofee chats he had.  Let's bring Mr. Baeza back.  Why is he gone anyway?  He was doing his job.

giveitupalready
giveitupalready

@TeacherForBaeza  Again, another FOLLOWER. You people are so biased, no matter who became your "current leader" you would not have supported them because they are not Baeza.  He had his little 'click' and all of you are upset because he is not there anymore. 

meheecan-cris-doner
meheecan-cris-doner

hey bbain, they have open enrollment at palm elementary if you want to enroll, pendejo. jajaja

Paloma88
Paloma88

He's not that kind of doctor. Geeeezzz!!!

gabrielsanroman
gabrielsanroman topcommenter

@BBAIN Dear troll, if the ACSD gave a real reason for the demotion. I'd write and report it. Don't blame me!

PalmLaneLatino
PalmLaneLatino

@Walsh The superintendent just went off a feeling too.  She doesn't know Dr. Baeza either. What feeling?  Did he look too Mexican?  Did he act too Mexican?  I've watched time and time how this school gets rid of its Latino principals. Guess we aren't good enough for the superintendent or the school. I'll be pulling my children out of this school.

Benita_Juarez
Benita_Juarez

@bernard0806 @NotShuttingUp  Since you are a parent at Palm Lane you can show your support by attending the next ACSD board meeting June 9th at 6:00 pm.  You can find more information on FB Page:  ACSD Students need Baeza   Dr. Baeza was an asset to Palm Lane and he was making a difference at your school 

B.M.
B.M.

@giveitupalready @AProudBaezista giveitupalready:  are you a parent at juarez or a teacher at Palm lane?  Remind us.  You say others are speaking as if they were there but you did the same thing.  And the angry tone makes me think you are one of the teachers someone called old.  And you seem to have so much anger at him that you probably did to him what you accuse others of doing to their principals ... not given him a chance.  Weren't bad teachers transferred from palm lane at the end of the year?  That's the rumor around the school ... the evils are gone.

Walsh
Walsh

@PalmLaneLatino  I'm Latino too, speak for yourself.  besides, the previous principal they moved was not Latino. 

Paloma88
Paloma88

@ Walsh You really need Baeza. It's AN uncle. Good thing you don't want to be a teacher!

PalmLaneLatino
PalmLaneLatino

@Walsh Sounds like a bitter employee! Don't know any aunts who have a clue about their nieces principal!  Oh right, either do you!

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